Old Bus Photos

Bristol Tramways – Bristol LS – NHU 2 – 2800


Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company Limited
Bristol LSX5G

This Bristol LSX5G with chassis number LSX.001 was new to Bristol Tramways in 1950 and has an Eastern Coachworks B42D body numbered 4978. It was, as its chassis number suggests, a prototype. Seen here at the Bristol Waterfront Running Day 22/05/2011.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

07/06/15 – 10:12

Nice, Les! Another for me to delete from my list of possible future submissions . . .

Pete Davies

08/06/15 – 07:25

MAH 744

This image is scanned from my original print so not great, however it is a piece of history. The two prototypes were together for the first time in 54 years here at Showbus 2005. The red one is Eastern Counties LL744 and registered MAH 744 with chassis number LSX002 and Eastern Coachworks B42F body 4255. Not a great shot but I thought it worth sharing.

Les Dickinson

08/06/15 – 16:10

I hadn’t realised until I saw the LS at this angle just how American are the lines of this bus enhanced perhaps by the rear doors.

Orla Nutting

09/06/15 – 06:03

Orla, just seen this and my thoughts were exactly the same. They would not looked out of place in any US city in the 50s and 60s.

Phil Blinkhorn

10/06/15 – 06:41

You can find the same in cars of that era. It’s really the front end with the decorative bits and anti-glare windscreen that does it- but what is the central light for? A foglight was at a lower level, usually nearside, illuminating the kerb. This is higher on (2) and in the middle?


10/06/15 – 08:24

I think that it was a fashionable idiosyncrasy at the time. Think of contemporary cars like the then Rover 75 and Austin A90 Atlantic. They never really caught on and eventually were phased out by Rover and the A90, though very eye catching, didn’t appeal to either the UK or American market (where the 1948 Tucker ‘car of the future’ was similarly equipped). Similarly in France the early ’50’s Panhard Dyna had a central oblong foglight in the bumper but these too were designed out on later models (pretty impractical anyway given French street parking practices!).

Orla Nutting

21/06/15 – 05:52

Nice photos Les, and its lovely to see the two LS prototypes together again as you say. They are both interesting vehicles in their own right. The ‘Bristol Bristol’ (LSX001) was originally powered by an experimental horizontal version of the Bristol AVW engine – this experimental power unit being designated XWA, with the production version becoming the LSW. A Gardner 5HLW engine was fitted in 1953, along with 8ft wide axles in lieu of the original 7ft-6" ones, and the bus was converted to single-door layout in 1956. (It’s great to see that LSX001 has been restored to original B42D configuration, which must have involved a fair bit of time, effort and money to say the least, and it is a credit to everyone concerned).
Relating to the Eastern Counties Bristol (LSX002), this vehicle was fitted with a Gardner 4HLW engine from new. Generally LS vehicles were powered by either Bristol LSW, or Gardner 5HLW/6HLW engines, but ECOC did take delivery of further LS4Gs, but I believe this was a small batch of five vehicles. Both prototypes had aluminium alloy underframes, to reduce weight, but production LS underframes were of pressed steel, which was easier to weld and was less expensive. Despite the use of a steel underframe however, the LS in bus form with Gardner 5HLW engine tipped the scales at around 6.25 tons, which is very creditable. Economy was also good, with Southern and Western National’s LS5G buses apparently averaging 15mpg on country services – aided no doubt by 5-speed overdrive gearboxes.

Brendan Smith

07/06/16 – 18:46

The memory is probably going, but I think I recall Bristol LS coaches prior to the introduction of the MW. These had deeper windscreens with rounded corners and I always thought them to be a prettier body. I’m remembering back to Southampton coach station in the 1960’s(that milk machine had the best strawberry milk on the South Coast!)and I am sure that Royal Blue, Southern National & possibly Hants & Dorset examples used to visit there. Do we have any photos?

David field

08/06/16 – 06:01

LTA 867

The handsome early style of ECW coach body for the Bristol LS that David describes appeared in 1952. Royal Blue had a batch of fourteen of this type delivered in that year with C41F bodywork (though the LS was an integral vehicle, of course). They were all reseated to C39F in 1960. Here is LTA 867, fleet number 1279, leaving Victoria Coach Station for Bournemouth in the summer of 1961.

Roger Cox

09/06/16 – 06:47

Roger, would this particular version of the LS coach body be the one where the front windscreens wound down into the dash panel? There doesn’t appear to be any other method of opening and I believe it was still a requirement at the time that the drivers windscreen, at least, should have the capability. I imagine it wouldn’t be possible to wind them down to a point where the wipers could become trapped on the inside of the glass!

Chris Barker

09/06/16 – 16:52

Yes, the LS coach windscreens do wind down into the dash panel. Those who admire this style of Royal Blue coachwork may like to note that one of this style is expected on the 2016 Royal Blue run – details at http://www.tvagwot.org.uk/event-royalblue.htm.  
That style only applied to the 1952 built LS coaches – those built from 1953 onwards having the windscreens made of two flat sections, the upper one being hinged at the top, in the same way as the first style of MW coach body.

Peter Delaney

09/06/16 – 16:53

Yes windows wind part way down. One of the batch took part in this years London-Brighton run MOD 973 I think.

Roger Burdett

10/06/16 – 05:37

They must have been the biggest panes of glass ever to have been wound down (and up) – pretty heavy, I would guess.
And one of the very few (perhaps only) winding windows to have windscreen wipers, too.



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Bristol Tramways – Bristol L6B – NAE 3 – 2467

Bristol Tramways - Bristol L6B - NAE 3 - 2467

Bristol Tramways
Bristol L6B

Whilst there are plenty of Bristols on the site, I don’t think I’ve seen this one represented so far. This exposed-rad Bristol L6B was shot at the Bristol Waterfront Running Day in 2011. New to Bristol Tramways in 1950, so sixty-one years old in this picture and looking well!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

27/06/13 – 08:56

Nice view, Les! What I find especially interesting is the combination of the usual Tilling green and cream livery with the greyhound logo. In my experience, the logo was accompanied by a red and cream . . .

Pete Davies

01/07/13 – 06:50

Greyhound coaches were cream and green during my youth in Bristol. The first to appear in cream and red were some 1963/4 Bristol RELHs and the new livery was then applied to older coaches but, by then, the three L6Bs had been withdrawn.

Geoff Kerr

01/07/13 – 09:17

The superb ECW interiors of these vehicles were glorious. Whether in red or green "Tilling group" fleets the interior scheme was, I believe, light green with "marble effect" panelling. Flooring and ceiling linings were also green and the seating moquette delightful. I’ve had many a wonderful journey from Leeds to London on West Yorkshire ones – nine hours and three refreshment breaks, and every mile an acoustic and comfort joy. Somewhere I have a very poor box camera picture of such a vehicle during a break on one of my many trips.

Chris Youhill

02/07/13 – 09:00

JWU 892_int

JWU 892

Further to Chris Youhill’s enthusing about these L6B coaches, particularly the West Yorkshire ones, I thought I would add a picture of the interior which he was describing. I think that the interior panelling colour was called eau de nil and even the lino flooring had a green marble effect colour. The interior shot and the rear view are from official ECW stock.

JWU 894

I have also added the highly cropped photo because it was the first bus photo I ever took – very predictable! It’s a pity that the old box Brownie didn’t give a satisfactory end result. This would have been about 1960/61, when the L6Bs were painted with large areas of red as they were demoted.

David Rhodes

03/07/13 – 07:02

Brilliant photos, David R. At this stage, the vestiges of Art Deco were still around, notably, in this case, with the sunrise backs to the seat.
And those enormous side windows, something which I’d never seen before in a coach of this era.
Very interesting – thx.

Chris Hebbron

03/07/13 – 15:18

…..but like contemporary Plaxtons, Chris, they are divided in the middle by a bright metal strip.

David Oldfield

18/07/13 – 07:43

The ‘Hants & Dorset’ open-toppers used on the journeys to Poole & Sandbanks in the 1960s had the cream & green livery almost identical to the Bristol coach pictured. It looked nice when clean, but did not wear well in wet weather.

Grahame Arnold

17/12/14 – 05:32

There was a period during my time at school in Bristol (1953-9) when BT&CC / BOC coaches had black trim instead of green and then afterwards went to Maroon!

Geoff Pullin

31/07/16 – 07:12

The Greyhound L6B coach was delivered with green trim, as were many of Bristol’s coaches, before having a brief flutter with black, then maroon and finally red. When new and in green the Greyhound in Wheel logo would NOT have been carried by NAE 3 (or NAE 1 and 2), but was by subsequent coaches. I have had it fitted to NAE 3 to confirm it’s previous identity – and I believe that it does not look out of place!

M Walker

03/08/16 – 14:31

NHY 946

I am surprised that MW says that NAE 1-3 did not have a metal Greyhound logo from new, but I cannot remember accurately back to those days! I imagine, with my experience of getting ECW to do anything out of the ordinary, that the logos would have been attached at Lawrence Hill upon delivery and pre-service inspection, together with fleet number transfers (later plates) – that was the way Tilling operators usually coped! I attach a photo of wider and longer LWL6B coach (NHY946 by then 2066) in maroon trim and the elegant Bristol Greyhound script at Bath bus station arrivals platform on September 15, 1963. I thought it looked very elegant and cosy in those days despite the body style being very dated compared to the current LS coaches already in service.

Geoff Pullin


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Bristol Tramways – Bristol J – AHU 803 – J134-759-2355

AHU 803_lr
Copyright Ken Jones

Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company Limited
Bristol J
Bristol B35RD

AHU 803 (2355) was built as Bristol J134 in 1934 by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company as a private hire coach. It is one of only three preserved Bristol ‘J’ types, and the only one that has been preserved of those that operated with Bristol Tramways.
The vehicle history AHU 803 started life as private hire coach fleet number J134 and apart from a fleet number change in 1937 to 759 remained unchanged until the Second World War. In July 1941 its seating was rearranged to seat 34 while it was used as a bus, and between May 1942 and September 1944 it ran with a gas producer trailer.
After the war a Gardner 5LW diesel engine was fitted replacing the original Bristol 6-cylinder petrol engine and was renumbered 2355 at the same time. Later in 1947 it was rebodied with a new bus body at the operator’s coachworks at Brislington, Bristol. The new body seated 35, and the bus re-entered service in June 1947. In 1958 it was used during the construction of Bristol bus station for carrying large signs with the centre of the roof and rear of the body removed.
It was later sold to Nailsworth Boys’ Club, when a boat rack was carried on the roof, bunk beds and a kitchen were fitted and it was painted in a light blue livery. The vehicle was bought from Nailsworth Boys’ Club in June 1978 and stored for many years in a underground factory. It was then moved to Saltford before moving  to Yate goods shed in September 1981 where restoration started. It was moved from Yate to Brislington in February 1993 and restoration was completed during 1999.

Copy by Ken Jones compiled from the Bristol Vintage Bus Group website

13/06/12 – 09:54

Lovely specimen! Thanks for sharing, Ken. Here’s a question. Did this arrangement have a door for the passenger compartment, making it a B..RD or was it just B..R ?

Pete Davies

13/06/12 – 09:54

The history of this bus might suggest that it is a bit or a reconstruction after so many changes but having seen and photographed it on many occasions, it is a superb bus in beautiful condition looking just as it would the day it was new as far as condition goes. Delightful and still in perfect order.

Richard Leaman

13/06/12 – 12:00

What an absolute delight!
I can just hear this bus growling away and would love to hear it in action. It is also quite unusual in having the BBW version of the standard Tilling post war body, which was, I believe, more common in double deck form.
This is quite an early example, before the standardised fitment of the Gardner 5LW, and must have been a JNW (?)
I remember a preserved United Counties J, still with "shield" radiator, but ECW post war body, but where is the other preserved example?
Thanks for a super post!

John Whitaker

13/06/12 – 17:12

May I point you to Gerry Tormey’s website which has details on specifications and survivors of Bristol J vehicles at www.bristolsu.co.uk/  The United Counties vehicle is VV 5696 and the third vehicle is Western National ATT 922. ADV 128 is under restoration.

Ken Jones

13/06/12 – 17:14

In answer to the various questions: yes, the body has a door, so it’s a B35RD. And both comments are right – this isn’t the original body, it’s a replacement dating from 1947; and the original engine was a Bristol JJW petrol engine.
If you’d like to hear it in action (and have a ride on it), then please come along to our rally at Brislington, Bristol on Sunday 12th August 2012, when it will definitely be in action. If you can’t make that, then you should find it at a couple of other events during the year, and either way, more details about events and the bus itself are available on our website, www.bvbg.org.uk  
Hope to see you in August!

Chris Knight

14/06/12 – 09:13

Chris-delighted to hear that this Bristol JO5G will be running on the 12 August event. I do hope somebody will do a video clip of a ride of this bus and post it on this web site. I can still recall the sounds of my last service ride on a West Yorkshire Bristol JO5G 979 from Otley to Fewston in the summer of 1954. The combination of a Bristol J with a Gardner 5LW engine and mid-ship mounted gearbox produces a most evocative sound.

Richard Fieldhouse

15/06/12 – 05:42

Chris K… Thank you for answering the question. It looks as if there should be a door – that’s why I asked.

Pete Davies

15/06/12 – 05:43

Richard F… I shall be there on the 12th and will certainly try to get that ride and will indeed make the video film for the Bus Sounds section. Let’s hope it’s a nice sunny day!

Richard Leaman

04/08/12 – 07:53

Can I be difficult and disagree with some of the foregoing.
1. "It is one of only three preserved Bristol J Types" – must be more than that. Tony Brown at Chelvesdon has one, I’ve got two plus there is the one in the picture. Also an H is only a J with a different engine so I think Colin Billinton’s WNOC H ought to be included in the total on the basis that there is no more difference between an H and a J than there is between a JJW and a JO6A for example.
2. "and the only one that has been preserved of those which operated with Bristol Tramways." Don’t think so. One of mine was operated by Tramways.
3. According to my understanding of the standard bodywork nomenclature, the ‘D’ suffix for doors is only normally applied to rear platform double deckers. Looking back at my PSV Circle sheets from those long gone days, Bristol L types, which, so far as I know always sported a sliding platform door always seem to be described as B35R.

Peter Cook

24/09/12 – 17:25

The other Bristol Tramways preserved J is BHW 432, fleet no.2199, which has a 1949 ECW body on a 1935 chassis. I last saw it at Telford, restored as fairground vehicle "Alice".
Western National’s ADV 128 was one of those taken over by Bristol in the 1950 exchange of territory, as no. 2497. I believe this is at Winkleigh.

Geoff Kerr

29/10/14 – 07:05

This was in service last Sunday at BVBG Autumn running day – difficult to imagine it is 80 years old.

Ken Jones

03/02/15 – 05:48

Great to see these buses still in existence. I drove one of these in the sixties for about a year. It was being used to transport workmen to a road construction works in Northern Ireland. It had what I believed to be a 150 Gardner. It also had six volt lights and very slow wipers, a nightmare on wet winter nights. Still I look back on it with fond memories.

Paul Stuart

26/03/16 – 16:51

In 1967 I worked for Dowsett Engineering and we had two Bristols both Coaches I think. One had a beast of an engine in it, a Bristol and the other had a Gardner 6LW and both built like tanks. Lovely coaches, and I’m a Leyland man!


27/03/16 – 07:28

Chris K and Peter C: as far as I’m aware, it’s always been PSVC policy to not distinguish between rear-entrance single-deckers with doors, and those without, presumably because, with single-deckers, for many decades doors have been the rule and no doors very much the exception. Looking back now this perhaps seems an omission, but PSVC codes have never catered for all layouts.
As to why doors should be the norm on single-deckers but not double-deckers, I can only think it was because single-deckers were more likely to be used on longer-distance and/or higher speed services.

David Call


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